Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Simplicity of Corporate Styling

The photo above is of actor Matt Bomer from the tv series 'White Collar', and it expresses the five parameters of alpha-style dressing :
  • simple
  • strong
  • and functional
  • with an obvious quality
  • and an understated elegance.
Now that's in stark contrast to another young man I saw recently. He was working in a bank, and walking from one office to another.

What struck me was that he was wearing full-cut pleated trousers that were sitting low on his hips. That created a long baggy crotch, a very baggy bum, and a length that was way too long. His shoes were very conservative, slightly scuffed, and had a soft rouned toe. He wasn't wearing a tie, and his shirt was a regular (full) cut. 

So overall he looked like a slovenly man in his fifties or sixties!

Now most young men would be dressing in the opposite direction... wearing the latest slim-line fashion in suits and trousers.  But this guy was dressing like and old man... and it was because of psychological process that I call 'Switches in the Mind.' 

I'll explain.....  When a person finds themselves in a new or demanding situation, in a flash their unconscious mind searches their past for insights that match that situation in some way... and it brings those memories forward to form the foundation of a behaviour that can handle what they're now facing.

It's as if a switch goes off in their mind !!!

For example, when a man gets married his unconscious mind searches his entire past for experiences that show him how to be a husband.  Not surprisingly it brings forward memories of watching his father be a husband to his mother.  And those memories become the foundation of his behaviour as a husband.

Over time he will also develop some behaviours that are different from his father... behaviours that reflect his own personality. But for better or worse, his father's behaviours (as a husband) will remain his foundation for some time to come.

So in regard to the young man I saw in the bank, when he entered the corporate world his unconscious mind searched his past for a way to be accepted by his superiors.  A switch went off, he rejected the popular fashion of young men his age, and resorted instead to an image he knew from his past.

Unfortunately it was the image of an old man who had worked in an office for many years, and didn't really care about his appearance any more.

That's going to be a problem for that young man, because his style of dress sends a negative message. It says "I'm slovenly and I don't care about the finer details." And that's not an attitude that any employer is going to value.

So instead of projecting your own personal values in the way you dress, you will be more successful if you project the character traits that employers consider to be valuable in business.

For example, the five paremters of alpha-style dressing express the following traits :
  • simple (a person who is practical)
  • strong (a person who is capable)
  • functional (effective in what they do)
  • with an obvious quality (high standards)
  • and an understated elegance (appreciation for detail).

Now it's not uncommon for men to consider the corporate uniform (suit-and-tie) to be a bit stuffy... and opt for a more casual approach to the way they dress.  But the point to keep in mind is that every business wants to present an image that appeals to a broad range of customers... and that means different age groups, and even different cultures.

That's why they're generally not keen on staff wearing fashion trends that send the wrong message to potential customers.  And without customers, there is no need for staff !!!

So when you dress for work, remember that it's not just about you and your personal values... it's about you achieving results that are going to help your career.
Now this brings us to a very important point..... 2 points in fact.

Firstly, as you start to dress differently some of your co-workers might make a few jokes at your expense.  But this is just resistance to a potential change in the status quo... a change to the pecking order that your strong and confident styling is threatening to create.

But don't take it too personally... it's really just a primal thing!  We are pack-animals by nature, so any change to the pecking order will mean that someone is going to rise above someone else. 

So understand that reaction, and keep in mind that your co-workers aren't the ones who are going to give you a bonus, or a promotion. 

My second point is that you might initially feel like giving in to pressure not to dress in any way that's different from the status quo. It's a natural response, because we're hard-wired to try to 'fit-in' and be accepted by the group.

However, the people in your group who make fun of you are usually the ones who have reached the limit of their capabilities (and they know it)... or they're just too lazy to change do anything about improving their situation... ao the last thing they want is a change to the pecking order.

In simple terms, their passive-aggressive behaviour is an indication that they were never going to be supportive toward you in any way. So there's no point in trying to get their approval. 

Finally now, let's have a look at some corporate Alpha-stying........

Shirts : If you work in an environment that doesn't require a tie or coat, then choose shirts that have a stong presence. Solid colours are best... even plain white. Keep in mind that pale and lightly patterned shirts can make you look washed-out.... and that can affect your credibility.


If you prefer striped shirts, consider fine stripes that look like a solid colour from a distance. Dark tone-on-tone stripes colours will create the strongest look. And because your shirt is going to be your main feature, always ensure that it fits well, and that it's made from a quality fabric. 


Ties :  You have the choice of plain, spotted, striped, patterned, or paisley. However Alpha-stying is never too bright, nor too conservative. A simple approach is to choose a tie that has both the colour of your shirt and the colour of your suit or pants.  And as an option you can throw in an extra feature colour (see example below).

If you have to wear a suit, then you have the option of wearing pale or patterned shirts, because they act as a backdrop for your tie. Your suit coat will create a strong solid colour... and your tie will add to that. A simple approach is to choose a tie that has either the colour of your shirt or the colour of your suit, together with one or more feature colours.

Suits : In most cases you have the option of wearing plain or striped suits.  I would recommend that you look to upper management for which direction to go. If it doesn't seem to matter, then go for plain colours, because they're more versatile. Without a tie, a plain suit can create a casual look for social events... or with jeans the jacket can create a relaxed look for the weekend.

Belts : Whatever belt you choose it should have a quality look about it, regardless of whether it cost a lot or not. Tapered sides are a good start... and a buckle that's not too boring and not too ornate. Remember it's not about wearing brand-names... it's about creating an image that's simple, strong, functional, with an obvious quality, and understated elegance.


Shoes : For some people your shoes can be an indication of your 'footing' in life.... an expression of your character. So consider shoes that are strong and edgy with an understated elegance (chisel-toe or square-toe). If you prefer a rounded-toe, consider a shoe with a solid extended sole to compensate for the softer look.


In summary : 

Every business wants to appeal to a broad range of customers. So you will be more successful if the way you dress projects the character traits that your employer values.

Some co-workers might not be too keen on you changing the status quo with the way you dress. But if you make a joke of it youself, it can disarm their attempts to bring you down. 

And finally, when you're developing your own expression of Alpha-styling, remember :
  • keep it simple
  • make it strong
  • wear functional items
  • that have an obvious quality
  • and overall it will create an understated elegance.
It's a Primal Thing.

For more insight into choosing shirts and ties, click on the link below :

Friday, November 26, 2010

Do's and Don'ts of Alpha Fashion

One look at British singer/songwriter Sting and you can see he's in touch with his primal masculinity :

1)  his look is simple, strong, and functional

2)  the fit complements his physique

3)  the colours are dark and solid.

The photo below is a variation of that look... and it highlights that once you establish your own expression of Alpha-styling, a simple change (in this case the shirt) can create a different look that still sends the same strong statement.

The photo below shows Sting in a dark tone-on-tone striped shirt. The collar and cuffs are white, which creates a strong contrast.... and the shirt would give an understated elegance to a simple black suit.

So with a few well-chosen items he has created a versatile Alpha-style wardrobe : 
1)  it's simple
2)  it's strong
3)  it's functional
4)  there is an obvious quality
5)  and an understated elegance.

So now that we've covered the fundamental Do's, let's have a look at some of the Don'ts. But before we do that, it's important to understand that an Alpha-style wardrobe is so very versatile because every item is simple, strong and functional. And if as many items as possible have an obvious quality, then all together the look creates an understated elegance.

In other words, every item in it's own subtle way is an attraction-factor.... with no weak links in the chain. This is how the understated elegance is created.

I make a point of highlighting this because a lot of guys wear just one or two Alpha pieces... and the rest of what they're wearing is a non-event.

An example would be going to a social function wearing a strong Alpha shirt with baggy-bum jeans and old sneakers. The jeans and sneakers will cancel out the effect of the shirt.

Why do so many guys do that sort of thing?   

Because we humans are pack-animals by nature, we usually try to fit-in with the rest of the pack. So if baggy jeans and sneakers are the popular fashion for men, then most guys will wear them... in spite of the fact that it will actually weaken the way they come across to people.

It shows that for most men, the first of the three parameters that influence the way we dress is the most important :

1)  to fit-in and be accepted by the group
2)  to raise our status amongst the group
3)  to attract the opposite sex within the group.

But this isn't the case for an Alpha personality.  He plays a more primal game, and they won't go along with popular fashion if it's not going to serve them well.

So unless you're going running afterwards, don't wear sneakers to a social event. Even if your sneakers are really comfortable... and even if the other men in your social group wear sneakers all the time... you will create a more Alpha impression if you wear some kind of leather shoe... preferrably with an edgy chisel or square toe.

It's the same with wearing thongs. Like sneakers, they are a non-event, and will do nothing to prompt people to take you seriously. So unless it's actually functional to wear thongs (like at the beach), go for stronger looking footwear. Even leather sandals would be better than thongs.

Moving on to pants... unless you're in prison or part of a street-gang, don't wear baggy-bum jeans.... they just make you look like a lost little boy. The same impression is created by extra long baggy shorts.... and no one outside of a small social sub-group is going to think it looks good.

That brings us to a very important point. These days a lot of people think that society should accept them the way they are... regardless of how they dress. And while that's a nice idea, it's not actually the way things work.

At a primal level we humans are hard-wired to be suspicious of strangers who obviously come from a different tribe. So unless you can live, work and play within your own social sub-group, it's a good idea to consider how your fashion statement is going to come across to the rest of society. 

Most men ignore this primal response (or simply aren't aware of it), and it can have a negative effect on their personal, social, and business relationships.

However the one fashion statement that crosses all cultures and age-groups is Alpha-style dressing... especially when you back it up by talking the talk, and walking the walk. 

Why does Alpha-style dressing have such a broad ranging postive effect? 

Because it expresses character traits that strike a primal chord with most people... and that makes it very attractive.

Now this brings me to my final point... as you develop your expression of Alpha-style dressing, you may well receive some resistance from people close to you. It might be a co-worker, or a friend, or even a family member.

But try not to take this too personally... it's really just a primal thing! 

As I've already stated, we humans are pack-animals by nature, and it's natural to try and raise our status within the group (any group).  So when someone starts to threaten our power and influence by displaying Alpha traits, the common response is to try and keep them down.

They might make fun of you, or embarrass you, or attack the changes you're making to the way you dress and behave... especially if it starts to show any form of success.

But stick to your guns... and if possible, limit the amount of time you spend with that person. Their behaviour is an indication that they're not going to be supportive... in spite of the fact that they might benefit as well.

So in summary :  Go against popular fashion when you know it's not going to serve you on a primal level. Understand that some of the people close to you might not be too keen on you changing the status quo. And finally, where ever you're going or whatever you're doing, remember the five parameters of Alpha-style dressing :

1)  keep it simple
2)  make it strong
3)  wear functional items
4)  that have an obvious quality
5)  and overall it will create an understated elegance.

It's a Primal Thing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fashion Trends and the Alpha Personality

The photo above is of Scottish actor Gerard Butler... and as you can see by his body language and style of dress, he's very much an Aplha personality :

1)  his look is simple, strong, and functional

2)  the fit complements his physique

3)  the colours are dark and solid.

Below is another photo, and again the look is simple, strong and functional... the fit complements his physique... and the colours are solid.

You could say that those 3 factors are the basis for Alpha-style dressing... and you'd think that it would be fairly easy to put together... but that's not always the case. 

In fact, when you're starting to put an Alpha wardrobe together, you often have to be patient because you have to shop around to find the right colours, and the right fit.

Take jeans for example. It doesn't matter if the jeans you wear are a famous brand or not... or if they cost $50 or $350. What matters is that they fit you well in the crotch, bum and legs.... and you have to find a brand that does that for you.

Remember, no famous brand name is going to have the same psychological effect as a primal display of masculinity that is created by clothes that fit well

Finding clothes that suit your particuilar physique can sometimes take a few weeks... and men generally aren't used to spending that much time shopping for clothes.

What most guys do is just buy what everyone else is wearing right now... because that's the popular fashion... and it's in all the shops.

But if baggy jeans are the fashion, it can be hard to find a pair that looks masculine. And if striped polo shirts are in fashion, it can be hard to find strong solid colours.

The problem of course is the constantly changing trends from the fashion industry. Each season the designers try to come up with something different that will set them apart from other fashion labels, and appeal to the buying public. And this creates an industry of constant change. 

For whatever reason, one idea will attract some attention (like striped polo shirts), and suddenly other labels will run with that concept too. And before you know it, striped polo shirts are the popular fashion for men this season.

The fashion industry can get away with offering up constantly changing fashion trends because of the psychological parameters that influence the way we dress :

1)  to fit in and be accepted by the group
2)  to raise our status amongst the group
3)  to attract the opposite sex within the group.

So it's no surprise that most young men wear the latest fashion trend... whatever it may be. They're trying to fit in to their social group... raise their status by wearing something new or different... and appear attractive to the opposite sex

In one form or another, it's something that happens with every generation.

But unforunately, fashion designers sometimes get it wrong, because they're constantly under pressure to come up with something new and different. And the end result can be a fashion trend that sends the wrong primal signals.

The extra long baggy shorts that make grown men look like little boys is one example... and the super tight jeans that make young men look like girls is another.

Often, the situation is made worse when celebities wear a bad fashion trend, and make it even more popular. Take the current trend of men wearing over-sized sunglasses. That style actually expresses a feminine trait, because it makes the face look smooth and soft. 

But still we see macho sports stars wearing that style of sunglasses. Why?  Because of the same three parameters :

1)  to fit in to the celebrity crowd

2)  to raise their status in the public eye
3)  and to be attractive the opposite sex.

These parameters have a subtle but very powerful psychological effect on our society. Let me give you an example........

In the 1980's we saw the emergence of the Sensitive New Age Guy (the SNAG). Women started to say that they wanted men to be less macho and more sensitive, so throughout the 80's and 90's men responded by dressing and acting in a more sensitive way.

Why would a whole generation of men change?  Well the answer is a primal one. They changed so that they would be sexually attractive to women (wife or girfriend).

But women gradually became dis-satisfied with the SNAG behaviour, and started to be attracted to a more rugged style of man (like tradesmen). 

Why?  Because what men had become didn't appeal to women at a primal level.  So a more macho look gradually developed (again).

But fashion trends continue to change, and every now and then men un-intentionally end up embracing a trend that expresses a feminine trait.

Now it's perfectly natural for a woman to want to soften her man... and fashion is one way of doing that.  But too much softness reduces a man's masculine presence... which means that he won't be as attractive to his partner (in a primal way)... and other men won't take him seriously.

So to avoid that problem, don't follow fashion trends (or celebrities) blindly... take the necessary time to find the brands that fit you well... and always remember the five parameters of Alpha-style dressing :

1)  keep it simple
2)  make it strong
3)  wear functional items
4)  that have an obvious quality
5)  and overall it will create an understated elegance.

It's a Primal Thing.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Standing Out without trying to Stand Out

The photo above is of Australian country music star Keith Urban, and what he's wearing covers all the basics of Alpha-styling :

1)  it's simple, strong and functional

2)  the fit complements his masculine physique

3)  and he's wearing solid colours (in this case, strong dark colours).

However Keith's image is in sharp contrast to what most young men are wearing these days... which includes shirts with artwork, and jeans with bright embroidery.

The jeans above are a striking example. The embriodery is obviously high quality, and the fit is certainly flattering. But make no mistake, the purpose of this concept is about one thing and one thing only : Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! 

It seems that young men are trying to stand out from the crowd by wearing clothes that feature bright designs.  And it does work to a certain extent. Why?  Because human beings are hard-wired to notice flashes of bright colour. It's a survival mechanism that helps to protect us from animals that are potentially dangerous.

Even in a social context, this new fashion trend fits within the primal parameters that influence the way we dress :

1)  to fit in and be accepted by the group
2)  to raise our status amongst the group
3)  to attract the opposite sex within the group.

So it's no great surprise that young men are wearing bright designs. Whether they realise it or not, they're trying to fit in to their social group... raise their status by wearing something new or different... and appear attractive to the opposite sex.

However this popular fashion trend has a down-side.  If you're wanting to stand out from other men and look attractive to women (your wife or girlfriend), this new trend doesn't actually have what it takes to successfully achieve that goal.

Why not?  Well it's a primal thing... something that many men have lost sight of.

Excess decoration is actually a feminine trait. So it's pointless to attract the attention of women (with bright colours) if your overall presentation has a feminine flavour to it.

Women are naturally hard-wired to be attracted to masculine traits. And men are hard-wired to acknowledge those traits as well.

So to really stand out from the crowd I recommend you consider taking a Zen approach, and not actually try to stand out. 

In other words, practice the art of Standing Out without trying to Stand Out.

How do you do that?  Well you need to work on a deep psychological level... a primal level... and dress like an Alpha personality.

Both men and women are hard-wired to respond positively to Alpha-style dressing.  Men respect the character it represents, and women are attracted to it.

Keep in mind that the attraction we experience for the opposite sex is a hard-wired response - not a choice.  Men don't realise that most women can spot an Alpha out of the corner of their eye, in a darkened room, at fifty feet. The way he dresses, the way he walks and talks, all register at an unconscious level.

In other words, you will stand out in a primal way if you display Alpha traits.

So finally, when you're choosing what to wear to any social occassion, remember the guidelines that can really help you stand out from the crowd :

1)  keep it simple
2)  make it strong
3)  only wear functional items
4)  that have an obvious quality
5)  and overall, have an understated elegance.

It's a Primal Thing.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hero's Quest Mythology - James Bond - The Protector

 The mythology of the Hero's Quest is timeless.  It comes in many variations, but there are always three basic components :
  • first there is a journey that takes the hero to a mysterious place  
  • there is danger and a series of life-and-death challenges
  • and finally a victorious return.
That theme could easily describe every James Bond movie ever made. And that's why the character of James Bond is the quintessential Protector... the very essence of an Alpha male.

Having said that, there seems to be two very different perceptions of what an Alpha male is these days.  While James Bond is generally portrayed to embody the noble qualities of masculinity, the other perception is that an Alpha male embodies negative qualities such as aggression, abuse of power, and a complete disregard for other people.

The way I see it, this negative perception of an aggressive self-centred 'Alpha Male' is simply a product of today's 'sporting' culture.  But if you take a broader perspective, it's the noble traits of bravery, discipline and integrity that command respect from all societies... which is why James Bond is popular around the world, and across generations.

In other words, the character of James Bond personifies what an Alpha personality looks like, and sounds like. Everything he does makes that statement.... and it strikes a primal chord in people.... they recognise and respect what he represents. 

The way he walks and talks says that he is a skilled warrior-hunter. He's practical, capable, and effective in his role as a protector.  He also has high standards, and has an eye for detail.

So it's not surprising that his strength of character is reflected in what he wears. Regardless of whether James Bond is wearing a suit or jeans and a jacket, his style is always :
  • simple (practical)
  • strong (capable)
  • functional (effective)
  • with an obvious quality (high standards)
  • and an understated elegance (an eye for subtle detail).

Now this brings us to a very important point.  Because of the timeless appeal of these character traits, the look it creates prompts respect from other men, and creates a subtle yet effective attraction-factor for women. 

Remember, sexual attraction is not a choice... it's a hard-wired unconscious response.  If you express the right primal signals, you create a positive primal reaction.  It's that simple!

But it's important that you also act like an Alpha Personality.  Any initial respect from men, or attraction from women, will be shattered if you don't walk-the-walk, and talk-the-talk.

So to finish, here are the fundamental parameters of Alpha StylingThey're easy to remember, and you can express them in your own way :
  • dress simple, strong and functional - with obvious quality - and understated elegance
  • your clothes should be fitted to complement your best physical features
  • and use solid colours as the foundation of your wardrobe.

 It's a Primal Thing.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wet and Wild (Alpha swim wear)

This photograph of actor Daniel Craig (James Bond) is very popular amongst women. Why? Well it's a primal thing. That image shows a warrior-hunter in his prime... fit, strong, and capable.  His chest, shoulders, torso, legs, and the discrete masculine buldge all say "Alpha male approaching!"
I think it's interesting that the makers of the movie (Casino Royale) decided to dress James Bond in powder blue swimming trunks.  Personally, I think that was done to soften the hard edginess of such a primal image.
But regardless of the reason why, when the movie came out the sale of powder blue euro trunks sky-rocketed around the world. 

Now here's a photo of actor Jeffrey Donovan, from the TV spy series 'Burn Notice'. He has a slimmer build than Daniel Craig, but many women would agree that he also looks attractive in euro trunks.
Interestingly, his trunks are black... which was an option considered for the Bond movie.  It's a more modest look that hides some of a man's more personal features.
That's an important aesthetic to keep in mind... although a discrete masculine bulge is a primal attraction-factor, women aren't interested in seeing anything more than a bulge.
But getting back to colour, remember this : if you have a slim build, then wearing a dark colour will add strength to your overall look ; and if you have a muscular build, wearing a light colour can make you more attractive (to women) by adding a softness to your overall look.

From a woman's perspective, the photos above (again of Daniel Craig) highlight another good reason why euro trunks are attractive.... regardless of the colour.

 Actor Gerard Butler (above) wears a more modest style of short shorts. Obviously legs are the attraction-factor with this slightly fuller style, but you should make sure that they fit well in the bum... because that's what women will be looking next if they liked what they saw in front.

Classic swim trunks (above) generally sit slightly higher than euro trunks, and are slightly longer in the legs. However, from a woman's point of view they are bordering on being a non event, because they aren't really highlighting the legs or the crotch. The only hope is that they fit well in the bum.
Now if you're married or in a relationship, you might be thinking that you're not really interested in being attractive to women. And that's fair enough. But what about your partner? Are you doing your best to be attractive to her?  And if not, why not?  It could help put a twinkle in everyone's eye.  

This brings us to boardshorts, which are the most common type of swim wear for Australian men. The name obviously originates from surf board riding... however these days they are also worn in other sports such as wind-surfing, para-surfing, wake boarding, and beach volleyball.
Boardshorts are sometimes called "boardies" in Australia, and "baggies" in South Africa. They became popular street wear as the skater-punk fashion trend expanded across America, and into other countries. 
However, in spite of their popularity in many countries, boardshorts generally lack primal attraction-factors.  Why?  Because they cover up the features that indicate a warrior-hunter physique.

Let me offer some insight into how physical attraction works (on a primal level) from a woman's perspective......... 
Even though you might be wearing the latest trend in t-shirts and boardies, first a women will notice your general body shape.
If that seems attractive she will then by-pass the clothes, because in this case they're hiding just about everything (chest, torso, crotch and legs), and she'll look at your face. Hopefully you won't be wearing trendy over-sized sunglasses, or she won't be able to see much at all.

If she finds your face attractive, then as you walk away she'll look at your bum... because that's another fitness indicator of a strong and healthy warrior-hunter.
Here's another example. When a woman sees an attractive image like this on the beach, she won't be thinking "Wow, what nice bright boardshorts."  First she'll see his chest, shoulders and arms... then his smiling face... then she'll probably think to herself "Those shorts are stopping me from getting a good look at his legs and bum."
And that brings us to a very important point. Most women simply put-up with a lot of the fashions that men wear these days... especially the low baggy-bum jeans and extra long shorts that make them look like little boys. It may be a social statement, but it just isn't attractive in any way.
So why do so many guys wear baggy boardshorts?
Well they're practical for water sports... but it's mostly because boardshorts are the popular fashion.  It's what men wear, regardless of whether they're going into the water or not.

Keep in mind here that we are hard-wired to dress within a set of primal parameters:
  • to fit in and be accepted by the group
  • to raise our status amongst the group
  • to attract the opposite sex within the group.
 So guys can fit in by wearing boardshorts (anywhere)... raise their status by wearing a famous brand... and attract girls by wearing bright colours and designs.

It's a great plan... except it seems that no one thought of asking the girls if it was going to work !?

But even if they did ask the girls, most guys are still very influenced by what the other men in their social group are wearing. 

Why?  Because they want to fit in and be accepted. And quite often that's more important than being attractive to the opposite sex (wife or girlfriend).

An Alpha, however, takes a different approach..... a very natural primal approach.
In summary :

Whatever type of swimwear you choose for yourself (speedos, euro trunks, classic trunks or boardshorts), make sure that the fit maximises as many attraction-factors as possible : your crotchbumlegs.

If you have a slim build, then wearing a dark colour will add strength to your overall look.  If you have a muscular build, wearing a light colour can soften your overall look, and make you more attractive to women (wife or girfriend).

Finally, choose swimwear that only has a small logo. It shows that you're confident in who you are, and that you don't need to try and boost your status with a famous brand name.
It's Primal Thing.

For more insight into swimwear for men, click on the link below :